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August 8, 2013

Thursday Practice Notes

No changes to the injured: Bertolet, Brandon Williams, Joas Aguilar. Kenneth Marshall hasn't been seen either.

In the quick game, there was some turnover in the receiver corps. After catching a touchdown pass yesterday, Sabian Holmes wasn't with the ones. Instead, freshmen Laquvionte Gonzalez and Jeremy Tabuyo were both with the first team, splitting the snaps at the slot receiver position. Johnny Manziel overthrow his first pass, completed his second one to Derel Walker for a first down, then had a pass deflected at the line by Julien Obioha. His last pass was a deep ball down the sideline to Mike Evans, but "time" had run out. Malcome Kennedy was at the other slot receiver spot.

The starters on the front line were likely what they'll be for the SHSU game, after Kirby Ennis returns from suspension: Obioha, Ennis, Alonzo Williams and Gavin Stansbury. At linebacker the three were Steven Jenkins, Donnie Baggs and Nate Askew. Askew got a chance to blitz, but didn't get to do a whole lot else. In the secondary, the starters were the usual: Devante Harris, Howard Matthews, Floyd Raven and Deshazor Everett.

With the second team today was led by Matt Joeckel, with Tra Carson the running back. Ricky Seals-Jones, who wasn't involved yesterday, was out there yesterday. He was in the slot, with Edward Pope on the outside of him. Quiv was the other outside receiver, with Sebastian Larue inside. Joeckel completed his first pass to RSJ, then gave the ball to Carson for a short gain, had a pass deflected at the line and then threw behind Larue on a crossing route on his last play.

On the defensive line, Tyrell and Tyrone Taylor were both on the field together, manning both defensive end spots. On the inside, Isaiah Golden and Justin Manning were together. The linebackers were Tommy Sanders and Justin Bass, with Sam Moeller and Clay Honeycutt at safety. Noel Ellis, Tramain Jacobs and Raven were the corners, with Raven in the slot. Neither the first or second team generated points today, after both did yesterday.

A few other notes:

Matt Davis has looked far better than Matt Joeckel through the first couple of days. Davis never lacks for confidence, while Joeckel tends to have his sag after a bad throw or two. Davis is fearless and doesn't get down on himself, but also learns from his mistakes. With his ability to move around and make plays, he brings a feature Joeckel can't to the offense. If the two are close to equal throwing the ball, Davis will win the competition. From what we've seen, it's not close right now -- Davis looks better.

Tra Carson remains hesitant when it comes to hitting holes. If he's going to be tentative, he's not only not going to get the ball in short yardage situations, the Williamses will take up his carry and James White becomes a viable alternative.

Ricky Seals-Jones, Quiv and Jeremy Tabuyo have all impressed with their acclimation process. They're all explosive, as we'd expected/hoped, but they're much more skilled off the bat than I had expected. Kyrion Parker and Sebastian Larue are pretty much what we'd expected, in that they're good looking receivers with more experience. JaQuay Williams is still struggling with his routes, so he needs to pick it up or he'll be passed up. If you can be happy with a group of freshman after four practices, though, the wideouts are the group that could make you feel that way.

Each of the big defensive tackles has impressed me in their own way. Golden is just an absolute monster, and he can beat you physically or cause problems for you with his first step. Hardreck Walker is much stronger than I had expected, and he holds his own nicely at the point of attack. Justin Manning, for a guy pushing 300 lbs., is pretty agile and has nimble footwork. If you didn't know better, you wouldn't think they were freshmen.

Noel Ellis was the guy we expected to be the best prepared to play immediately, and he is: he's a very good pass defender. But I've liked what I've seen from Tavares Garner and Victor Davis as well. Garner is extremely aggressive, as he was in high school; Davis is an NFL-sized corner who can also move. Both guys are getting long looks from the defensive staff already.

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